A brand identity designer with clients around the world.
Published on April 11th, 2009 Read the 30 comments »
“Everyone who is honest is interesting.”
Stefan Sagmeister, interviewed on Scene 360 and designboom.
Yes, design can make you happy.
Thanks for the video tip, Fredrik.
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It depends on what you are honest about. As an overly honest person myself, you have to be careful how you say things. On the other hand if everyone were more honest then it wouldn’t be so hard for people to take. Certain types of advertising would be more ethical.
Sagmeister is my idol ever since he did his talk on happiness in Amsterdam 2004. The same talk can be seen here if you’ve missed it: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/stefan_sagmeister_shares_happy_design.html
I agree. If everyone was more honest with each other, we’d be much better at giving constructive criticism. Your thoughts remind me of this blog post by Khoi Vinh (from a couple of days ago):
Dear Designer, You Suck
Are we too quick to take offense at the opinions of our peers? Or are we pulling our punches too much when discussing the merits of the work that our peers turn out? To put a finer point on it: are we being honest with one another?
That’s a great Sagmeister presentation. Thanks very much for linking to it.
I thought that was absolutely brilliant, His remark on having projects to work on where he is free from financial constraints, creative bounds and tight deadlines has made me realize how much I must take University work for granted as opposed to seeing it as an ‘adventure’ in design, so thanks for this.
Staying happy for some people can be relatively difficult, myself included.
Fear of making mistakes
the list goes on, which all limit peoples lives.
its Just eliminating the procrastination of finding the inner desire to want to be happy and stay happy.
I think it’s most important to be honest to yourself.
This way you will always evolve and even though it may be hard at times, the experience is worth it.
Cheers for the post David :)
If you check out the TED site there is a follow up a year or so later by Sagmeister on a similar topic.
I really enjoy his work! He brings such a personal edge to his work which I think is fantastic!
I didn’t know about the followup speak by S! Thanks for the tip.
Looking back, I could’ve made a lot more of my college projects. But then, as time passes, I look back at a lot of things and believe I could’ve made more of them. Ah hindsight.
I’m one of the least superstitious people you’ll find. It’s funny sometimes, watching the reaction of people when I open an umbrella indoors, or walk underneath a ladder. The shock of it!
No worries at all, and thanks for the Easter greeting too.
I also wasn’t aware of the follow-up. Thanks very much. I’ll make another visit.
I think it’s nice for mr Sagmeister to design according to these quotes. And don’t get me wrong I like his work. But there is more to it than just plain”being honest” when it comes down to communicating with your client.
Sure, honesty is good. But when you’re talking about working alongside clients you have 2 types of honesty: The mild honesty, and the blunt honesty.
Honesty is good when you are with your clients, but with various clients comes various ways of honesty. If i’m talking to a client that has had a business for a long time (e.g. family butcher shop)
and they want a new logo, it is advisable to use mild honesty. These people are stuck for a very long time to certain beliefs. And the logo itself represents the business tradition. So be very careful
when being “honest”. For instance: Don’t say “your logo is very old fashioned, comic sans is very 1994. We’re going to pimp it”. Say “Right now, your logo doesn’t quite reflect the feeling that I get with your company. Let’s try and keep the good elements and try to filter the less substantial out”.
So, be respectful when being honest. Try to place yourself in the client’s shoes. Don’t try to make jokes, or push too much of your own ideas and beliefs in the room. You’ll possibly have the consequence of disrespecting their own, and thus disrespecting the client.
I believe honesty can be great and very interesting, but to add to what Rachel said it not only “depends on what you are honest about”, but I believe it also depends on the motive of the honesty. Is the motive to be constructive or destructive? I believe if the motive of the honesty is genuinely about being constructive then proceed with the honesty, however if we are trying to be destructive with our honesty then we have turned honesty into something very uninteresting. IMHO. Thanks for the post.
Honesty would suck designing for a product you don’t believe in but pays really well. I’ve read as much as I could about Sagmeister, and I’ve never really been impressed by his work, as I’m more impressed at how out going he is with getting his name out there. But that’s another topic.
I don’t believe life can be as simple as a logo, and it is the complexity of life, that brings out a designers skill/talent. Constructive or destructive, hop scotch on a thin line; the person providing the information sometimes, does not even know which side they are even on. Sagmeister, book’s tend to seem honest because they are journal entry’s, but they are life viewed through his eyes, so they are his truth, not everyone’s, and at worst case, not even reality.
I agree with Armin, just worry about yourself, and do what the do is good. :)
I love the quote “Everyone who is honest is interesting.” Honesty is ESSENTIAL on the new “social and viral” web! However, there’s definitely a difference between being “honest” and being tactful.
As pointed out in the comments above, it’s virtually impossible to be “dishonest” when you’re sharing your opinion. It’s your truth of your world as you see it. Sharing the truth as you see it is being “authentic”.
Being authentic when it comes to the web and design is portraying yourself authentically. Remember, the new web is very TRANSPARENT… so saying that you’ve been a designer for 15 years when in fact you’ve only been doing the “design thing” for 15 MONTHS – that’s being “inauthentic”. The same goes for claiming credit for work you haven’t done. Those are outright LIES and when you lie online, count on getting busted.
i am a Graphic Design aspirant from india and a frequent visitor of your blog.Tough i do not hold any degree in GD so it is hard to get into this field.Are there any Internship opportunities to work with you?
Honesty is indeed important, though I feel it is something you must manage with tact depending on the time and placement of your design. As designers we have the ability to get into people’s minds through a friendly tap on the shoulder or a back-hand to the face. I would consider both methods honest in principle but which one you choose depends heavily on what personality you want the project to take on.
It was interesting how Sagmeister found that most of the things that make him happy are design related. I want to believe it would be the same with most professional designers :)
It’s funny, I was just reading your article on Transparency and was thinking about how honesty breeds trust from both your target audience, associates and employees.
Like everyone says, honesty is ESSENTIAL on the new ‘social’.
“To be honest…” – I hear that a lot these days.
So you’re not honest the rest of the time you talk to me? ;-)
I’ll join the honesty movement as soon as Sagmeister is our new chancellor.
That guy really inspires me.
Certainly it may not be best to just come out with a blunt statement, I agree. You can be honest while remaining tactful. And I wouldn’t advise anyone telling a client they’re going to ‘pimp’ their logo, regardless of honesty.
I don’t think there needs to be any form of destruction with honesty. Perhaps in the short term — breaking down barriers — but it should always be with the intention of creating something stronger, a relationship or project outcome etc.
I wonder how many of us have turned down a project because it goes against our standards. That’d make for an interesting discussion, for me anyway.
Nice to see you both mention ‘tact’. I think honesty without tact could hurt without reason. Avery, thanks for taking a quick trip through my dusty archives. :)
I can’t help with your internship search, but good luck with it.
I’ve no idea why it gets said (to be honest…) Maybe some of us are so used to lying, that when the truth be told, it deserves clarification.
Thanks everyone. You got me thinking.
[quote]I’ve read as much as I could about Sagmeister, and I’ve never really been impressed by his work, as I’m more impressed at how out going he is with getting his name out there.[/quote]
Same here! I’m not fond of most of his work, but is known to quite some people.
Slightly offtopic: At the TED site is also a great talk by David Carson (someone who’s work I prefer over Sagmeister):
Great talk, Tjeerd. Some quite funny parts. And “The End of Print is now in its fifth printing.” Who’d have thought?
I just put up a Stefan Sagmeister video from TED on my blog today. Honestly didn’t see this one on your blog before now. Great minds and all that!
I think the guy is a genius and is able to talk about design in such simple terms, I really admire him.
People should be honest and tactful.
Brands should also be honest. If brands were more transparent rather than hiding behind a veneer of marketing they would reap rewards long term. You can’t pretend to be something you are not, you will always get found out eventually.
Stefan’s very good at giving presentations, I agree with you there.
“Honest and tactful”. Definitely. I hope the new position’s working out brilliantly for you.
I love this blog, it’s a subject very close to my heart.
I think honesty isn’t prized highly enough. A person who means to live to their life ‘honestly’ must learn the vital skills of ‘tact’, ‘timing’ and more to ensure that their honesty is as painless as possible.
I feel that the world would be far better place with more honesty. To be honest … :)
I think you’re spot on, Amanda.
David to be honest with you I am blog hopping at the present time. I am sampling blogs related to advertisement.
What I find honest and good about your blog is that you take the trouble to read each comment. This may not be possible once the numbers become large.
Kathy’s comment that honesty is required because of the Web seems off.
As for another comment that brands need to be honest, what that is basically saying is don’t oversell.
Rahael’s initial comment appeared to be a very level headed comment and your rely to it.
It gets harder and harder to reply to every comment I receive, which is a shame, but I hope that people understand the time constraints. Thanks for visiting.
Thanks for the link. Khoi puts the point across very well.
Hey I just successfully hotlinked the image from this post. I was trying to use your site as an example of what can happen when you steal images and bandwidth, but it did not work. I know that for a while you had that “I <3 David Airey.com" image up there. Just wanted to let you know.
Thanks for telling me, David. I removed the hotlinking code some time ago after it was blocking images from certain RSS readers I didn’t know existed. The last thing I want happening is for images not to show for my subscribers.
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